Occupation: President and Designer, Uneek Jewelry
Favorite Productivity Tool: My morning ledger, which shows me important reports like backorder reports, production/manufacturing reports, expense reports, sales target reports, marketing analytics, etc… It helps me to define my day, and how I can help different areas and departments identify priorities, attack bottlenecks, think up creative solutions.
Most Recommended App: The Pinterest app gives me quick inspiration on my phone.
Last Thing You Read: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Twitter & Instagram handle: @uneekjewelry
Tell us about your journey? My mom has a retail store in downtown L.A., which she opened when I was 3 years old. As a kid, I would help out with errands, like run around downtown for sizing, repairs, etc. There was always a sense of urgency with my mother , so instead of waiting and craftsmen to come to us and pick up their jobs, I had to go to them myself for faster turnaround times. This was how I picked up a lot of skills--from polishing, setting, casting, quality control, etc--and learned some of the more valuable lessons that were to shape the way I approach manufacturing and design.
When I was 16 I started working for Gap Kids to raise some capital, and it was there that I learned all about business ethics, which I took to heart, knowing I wanted to take them with me one day when it was time to start my own company. By the time I reached 20 I had saved up $4,800. I left Gap Kids, took that $4,800, bought some bracelet mountings, set them with diamonds that I had gotten on memo, and I went on the road with them. That is how I started!
What what's your favorite part of your day? Nothing inspires me more than walking into our manufacturing facilities—which are here, by the way, on the premises, co-located with our business and operations offices—and watching our jewelers work on our pieces, being able to sit with them as they do their magic, and being able to be hands-on with them and the whole process. I do not understand it when people just sit in their office, wait for stuff to be shown to them, sign a bunch of papers. You are missing out big time when you are not there watching the action happen, talking to your work family, and being hands-on!
But my absolute favorite part of the day is when I come home from a long day at work and my daughter runs into my arms. Euphoric doesn’t begin to describe it.
When do you feel most successful? I feel most successful when each and everyone in my work family--the Uneek team--is happy , working hard, and inspired by me. Also, every time I see someone wear and cherish a Uneek piece... Nothing is more fulfilling to us designers than when we see a piece we've made being worn and cherished by a real person, in real life.
What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained? Exercise! I love to work out every morning. Also, listening to music. And, of course, spending quality time with my family...
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur? Not to rush . If you have the right product, the right ethics, and are committed to customer service, hard work and perseverance, everything will fall into place... Also: When one door closes, many more will open!
How do you optimize your day? I wish I had the perfect equation! But, really, for me it's simple: remembering to wake up and be thankful... Sometimes it's as east as taking a deep breath, looking around you to marvel at all that I have built and created, seeing how far the little boy I used to be have come... Also, treat others as how you would like to be treated, making sure you don't step on anyone's shoes... And I must not forget a very important formula: by empowering my managers and my employees to take ownership of their jobs, giving them the confidence to run the business as if it were their own, that's how I ensure it is going to be a very productive day...
Who is the person/people who allowed you to imagine more? My wife, who is always there to give me comfort and support at just the right time, right when I need them the most... And who has given me the most precious gift of all: our daughter...
What does imagining more mean to you and your story? What drives me to imagine more is my unquenchable desire to enrich other people's lives with the pieces that I make/create... It's so surreal to me when I think about how a Uneek piece is part of someone's story, a big part of some of the most special moments of their lives... So there is always a need for me to "imagine more and more" every day... There's still so many people out their planning their perfect moments for them to cherish for a lifetime, and I want a Uneek piece to be part of it! Also, it's my passion to keep the craft alive here at home, and to support the industry... The more I imagine, the more I design, the more I make, the more it cements my commitment to keep manufacturing here in the USA, to stamp my support for American artisans and their families...
If you could do more of one thing every day what would it be? To show my appreciation to the Higher Power and to help the less fortunate.
Favorite social media platform? Facebook and Pinterest